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India’s Second Mission to Moon Gets Delayed Again

Meanwhile, Israel, which also plans to launch its lunar mission in February, is in contest with India to be the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the Moon

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Moon
The Moon. Pixabay

India’s second Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 that was to be launched on Thursday with a lander and rover got delayed again, officials said on Thursday.

“The next launch date of Chandrayaan-2 has not been confirmed yet,” a spokesman of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS here.

This is the second time the space agency deferred the mission launch after it was put off first time in October for unspecified reasons.

Though ISRO Chairman K. Sivan told the media here earlier that they planned to launch Chandrayaan-2 on January 3, reason for the delay has not been made public yet.

“The window to launch the Moon mission for landing on its surface is, however, open till March,” Sivan told reporters earlier.

The Rs 800-crore Chandrayaan-2 mission comes a decade after the maiden mission Chandrayaan-1 was launched on October 22, 2008 from the country’s only spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, 90 km northeast of Chennai.

The 3,890-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, to be launched onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-3, will orbit around the Moon to study its conditions and collect data of its topography, mineralogy and exosphere.

After reaching the 100-km lunar orbit, lander with rover will separate from the spacecraft and gradually descend to soft land on the Moon at a designated spot. The rover’s instruments will observe and study the lunar surface.

UAE, Moon
India’s second Moon mission gets delayed again. (VOA)

The lander has been named “Vikram” as a tribute to the pioneer of India’s space programme and former ISRO chairman (1963-71) Vikram Sarabhai.

India will be landing its rover on the Moon for the first time nearly 50 years after American astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped and walked on the eerie lunar surface on July 20, 1969 as part of Apollo-11 mission.

While Chandrayaan-1 reached the lunar orbit on November 8, 2008, its impact probe crashed onto the Moon on November 14, 2008. The 675-kg spacecraft was lost on August 29, 2009 after orbiting at 100 km away from its surface and mapping its chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic properties for over nine months.

Of the 11 scientific instruments on board Chandrayaan-1 from six nations, including India, one of them from the US space agency NASA discovered the presence of water on the Moon for the first time.

Also Read- Samsung to Supply Auto Chips to Audi

Incidentally, while India’s second voyage to Moon got delayed, China on early Thursday soft-landed its spacecraft Chang’e-4 on the far side of the lunar surface, which is away from facing earth.

When Chandrayaan-2’s rover lands on the Moon, India will be the fourth country in the world to achieve the feat after China in December 2013, the US in 1969 and then Soviet Union in 1959.

Meanwhile, Israel, which also plans to launch its lunar mission in February, is in contest with India to be the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the Moon. (IANS)

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Novel Coronavirus: Government Deploys Health Team on Nepal Border

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there

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Coronavirus
The Coronavirus outbreak, which has so far caused 41 deaths in China, and caused the country to quarantine 16 cities, is causing comparisons to the 2003 spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which decreased the value of the global economy by $40 billion. VOA

In the wake of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Nepal, the Union Health Ministry has subsequently strengthened its vigil in the areas bordering Nepal.

The recent deployment of health team has taken place at Panitanki in West Bengal, entry point from Nepal, said the Health Ministry on Monday.

“Update on #ncov2020 – Subsequent to confirmed #coronarvirus case in #Nepal, vigil strengthened at Panitanki (West Bengal) entry point from Nepal,” the ministry tweeted.

Earlier on Sunday the ministry had informed that in response to confirmed case of the new virus in the neighbourhood country Nepal, India stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal. The health ministry said that teams of medical experts were also deployed at border outpost with Nepal at Jhulaghat and Jauljibi in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand.

Coronavirus
Southeast Asia’s proximity to China and dependence on that nation for a major share of its economy is raising concerns that the coronavirus outbreak  that started there will not only have health impacts but harm the region’s economies. VOA

In continuation of its efforts to stop the virus from entering in India and making the passengers aware, the ministry has also displayed signage advising the passengers for self reporting and other precautions, disseminated through advisories, at the Mumbai airport.

According to the health ministry, a total of 29,707 passengers from 137 flights have been screened. Fortunately, no case of coronavirus has been found till date.

Also Read: Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

According to the announcement made by Chinese health authorities on Monday, 2,744 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), including 461 in critical condition and a total of 5,794 suspected cases have also been reported. The killer virus has caused 80 deaths in China, as per Chinese authorities.

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there. The health ministry said it is working closely with the Ministry of External Affairs and is in touch with the students. (IANS)